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Porcelain for the Chinese Emperors Anne Haworth Wednesday 04 September 2019

The powerful emperors of China, who reigned during the mighty Ming and Qing Dynasties from 1368 to the end of Empire in 1911, presided over one of the greatest collections of art ever assembled. Among the rare paintings, silks and jades were fine and unique examples of porcelain plates, bowls and vases, painted with dragons chasing flaming pearls among clouds or with flowers such as peonies, orchids and plum blossoms, all rich with ancient symbolism and glowing with jewel-like colours.  The emperors were regarded as "Sons of Heaven" and lived secluded lives in the Forbidden City yet they were often sophisticated, discerning and even obsessive collectors, who sent orders for vast quantities of the finest porcelain to the imperial kilns far away in Jingdezhen, China's "porcelain capital", in southern China.  Imperial porcelain is invariably a technical accomplishment which delights the eye.  The lecture traces the history of porcelain manufacture in Jingdezhen, with original photographs, considers the profound symbolism of the designs and looks at examples of Chinese imperial porcelain in museums in China and the West.

Anne Haworth is a lecturer at the V&A and a guide for private tours of the State Rooms and The Queen's Gallery at Buckingham Palace. She is a lecturer in British Painting for American students resident in London and in Autumn 2002, catalogued the collection of Chinese porcelain at Kensington Palace.  From 1981 to 1995, she trained and became a senior ceramics specialist at Christie's and Bonhams head offices.  From 1995 to 2002, she was resident in Shanghai, China, visited ancient kiln sites and lectured to expatriate groups. From 2002 to 2005, she was a committee member of the French Porcelain Society.

Image:   Ming dynasty porcelain teapot.

Source:   Wikimedia Commons